How to Connect to a Bluetooth Speaker on XFCE, MATE, and Cinnamon

Both GNOME and Plasma have their own tools for working with Bluetooth, but desktops like XFCE, MATE, and Cinnamon all use the same common set of tools, making working with Bluetooth speakers across these desktops super simple.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to Install the Required Tools
  • How to Connect a Speaker
  • How to Pair Switch Audio Output

Bluetooth Speakers on Linux

Bluetooth Speakers on Linux.

Software Requirements and Conventions Used

Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, and Arch Linux
Software Bluez and Blueman
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user
  1. Install the Required Tools

    Before you can connect your speaker, you’re going to need the Bluetooth management tools to set up the connection. Some distributions may have these installed by default. If not, they’re simple enough to install.


    $ sudo apt install bluez blueman


    $ sudo dnf install bluez blueman


    $ sudo zypper install bluez blueman

    Arch Linux

    $ pacman -S bluez blueman
  2. Connect a Speaker

    Once you have the packages installed, you can open up Blueman, the Bluetooth management tool. On some desktios, the Bluetooth icon should have appeared in in your system tray. Right click it, and select Devices from the resulting menu. If that isn’t there, look for your Bluetooth settings under your desktop’s Control Center.

    Blueman Open on MATE

    Blueman Open on MATE.

    With Blueman open, press the Search in the main menu. At the same time, press the Bluetooth button on your speaker.

    Bluetooth Search Results

    Bluetooth Search Results.

    Blueman will get to work looking for your speaker. When they find each other, the speaker will appear in BLueman’s device list.

    Bluetooth Speakers Paired

    Bluetooth Speakers Paired.

    Select your speaker, and press Pair in the main menu. The icon usually looks like a key or set of keys. Your computer will pair with the speaker, making it usable. Then, if you plan to keep using the speaker, press the star icon to mark the speaker as trusted.

  3. Switch Audio Output

    Switch Sound Output To Bluetooth

    Switch Sound Output To Bluetooth.

    Right click the volume icon in your system tray, and choose Sound Preferences, or Preferences, whichever your desktop environment has. Choose the Output tab. Choose your speaker from the list of available output devices.


That’s it. The whole thing sounds more complicated than it is, and the most common issue you’ll encounter is Bluetooth being its usual unreliable self and not connecting right away. Your speaker should connect automatically, when in range, and your computer should switch the output, but if it doesn’t you’ll need to handle that manually.

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